Inhale. I am giving you permission unlike Bill Clinton’s little foray. You’re not running for president are you? Let’s hope not. Use some imagination…c’mon…I know you can. Close your eyes, picture standing in my kitchen. Please step over the Golden Retriever. Chances are, she is lying at your feet, or more likely has her nose in your crotch. Try to ignore that…it’s difficult, but please try for this little exercise.
Let’s start over…for just a second. Go get some spices; Coriander, Cloves, Cinnamon, Cardamom and White Pepper. Open up the jars. Take a whiff of each one. Now, walk over to the chocolate drawer. What?! Don’t you have an entire drawer of your fridge devoted to chocolate? If you answered, “No”, then I suppose I should start with that lecture, but I’ll save that for another day. Eat one, good and dark chocolate chip…bittersweet if you have it please; just to set the scene.
Ok…now in your imaginary pot on the stove throw in some of that dark chocolate and spices and mounds upon mounds of butter because this chocolate cake is not for sissies and Valentine’s Day doesn’t happen more than once a year so it’s OK to go a little crazy.
Wave your magic wand and momentarily you have little white dishes filled with a rich chocolatey batter with teaspoon upon teaspoon of tantalizing spices mixed in, just waiting to be baked. Now the most alluring aroma is filling the air. You have never, ever in your life smelled anything so wonderful.
Fifteen short minutes later and you can take them out, loosen ‘em up for their little production and eventually release them from their ceramic bondage. Once you dig your spoon in, the molten insides will reveal themselves, and you will take a little taste. A taste that will send you to somewhere very wonderful.
And as we all know, chocolate and spices are well known—um—“jump starts” to a very nice evening. The batter can be made ahead of time unlike souffles so these are the perfect little desserts for Valentine’s Day. Whip them up a few hours early, and then bake them right before you want to take a bite. Serve them warm and melty, but only if you are ready to bite into something divine.
—P.S. The spices are fairly mild even though the quantities indicate otherwise. My son didn’t know anything was different about these chocolate cakes, but my mom, a foodie, knew that they had something unique and special going on. Infact, she said verbatim, “This is the best thing I have ever eaten!”. See? I will not steer you wrong here. Just make them. Be happy.
Winter Spiced Molten Chocolate Cakes
Originally From Bon Appetit Magazine but now can be found on Epicurious
Makes 8 individual ramekins. Can be made one day ahead.
14 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
6 large eggs
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
Serving suggestions: Ginger ice cream or vanilla ice cream AND 1 T. of whiskey poured over the top, and of course a dash of fresh whipped cream dolloped on.
To make the cakes: Grease 8 ramekins with ample amounts of butter. If you are going to bake your cakes right away, then preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a medium sauce pan, place the bittersweet chocolate, butter and spices (coriander through pepper). Heat on medium, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon. Turn lower as it starts to melt, stirring frequently. It will take about 4 minutes for the chocolate to totally liquify and the ingredients to meld together. Once that happens, take it off the stove and let cool while you make the rest of the batter.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together (by hand) the egg yolks, eggs and vanilla. Once beaten together, sift one cup of the powdered sugar over the egg mixture. Whisk the sugar into the eggs and repeat so that you have added three cups of powdered sugar total. Beat together with the wire whisk until smooth (ish).
Stir your chocolate mixture into the egg and powdered sugar mixture. Beat a little bit to combine with the whisk. Add the flour and beat with whisk JUST until combined. Don’t over beat. Fill your ramekins 2/3 full. Place your ramekins on a cookie sheet to make it easy put in and take out of the oven.
If you are making these ahead, cover themwith plastic wrap and then you can refrigerate them for up to one day. When you take them out of the fridge, you must bring them to room temperature before you bake them.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the batter has risen above dish, top edges are dark brown, and centers are still soft and runny, about 15 minutes, or about 18 minutes for refrigerated batter.
When you take them out, run a butter knife around the edges of each one and let cool as-is for 5 minutes. Place a dessert plate on top of the ramekin and flip over.
Serve with either vanilla ice cream, ginger ice cream and or 1 big Tablespoon of Whiskey and a little dash of whipped cream. Perfection…trust me or don’t and make it yourself. You will love me!